The waterhole used by the community and animals. Picture: Supplied
Kimberley - There has been an outcry from the community of Smith’s Mine near Barkly West, who say that they are forced to drink water from the same river that is used as a watering hole for pigs and other animals.

They have also complained about the lack of service delivery in the area.

“We have been living here for the past 24 years without basic services. The municipality promises us water tanks, solar panels for electricity, a clinic, lands and jobs. The toilets are flooded with sewage so we use the veld instead.”

They said that they were promised pupil transport to Jan Kempdorp as from the beginning of the month but this has not happened. “Our children are forced to hike to Jan Kempdorp and back home every day. It is the nearest high school in the area.”

Dikgatlong municipal manager Kagiso Modise said that the local authority was in the process of purchasing two JoJo tanks to provide residents in the area with water.

“Smith’s Mine is a former mining area and mining activities are no longer taking place there.”

The area was also claimed by Majemantsho Community Property Association (CPA).

“The municipality visited the area and it is aware of the socio-economic challenges in the area.”

Modise said that the Department of Energy was running a solar panel project to provide the area with power.

“The toilets are latrine toilets that do not make use of water and cannot overflow, unless it is another problem. “The municipality will investigate how it can happen that the latrine toilets overflow with sewage.”

Modise stated that there were currently no water taps at Smith’s Mine.

“It can never be safe to drink water from the river. This is an informal area and the municipality will liaise with the Health Department for a mobile clinic.

“The Department of Education is still dealing with the problem of pupil transportation.

“The other services will follow, but the Smith’s Mine settlement will be relocated to another area.”

The head of communications at the Department of Education, Lehuma Ntuane, stated that arrangements would be made to provide public transport to 11 pupils from Smith’s Mine to Valspan High School in Jan Kempdorp.

“We are in the process of appointing a service provider.”

Meanwhile, the secretary of the Northern Cape School Learner Transport Association, Kenny Dugmore, said that all service providers in the Province had received outstanding payments, between February 15 and Tuesday this week.

“Only a handful of service providers were not able to transport pupils last week on their routes, when they ran out of diesel, but were back on the road as soon as they were paid. It is a matter of taking it on a month-to-month basis.”

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